Tony Kirkwood
Name: Tony Kirkwood
Team: Neshannock
Number: #21
Grade: 12
Height: 5' 10''
Weight: N/A
Position: G
Kirkwood shouldered load,
carried Neshannock to title


Tony Kirkwood spent much of last season waiting to get on the court.

Following surgery on his right shoulder, the Neshannock High point guard played just 10 games during his junior campaign.

“It was tough sitting there,” said Kirkwood, who was injured playing football during his sophomore year. “I’ve started since I was a freshman and I missed playing (on a consistent basis).

“I came out this year wanting to prove something since I didn’t play much last year.”

It didn’t take the 5-foot-10 senior long to get going. Kirkwood scored 11 points, including a pair of free throws in the closing seconds, to help the Lancers beat West Middlesex, 48-44, in the opening round of their own tournament on Friday.

Kirkwood turned in an even better performance the following night when he scored a career-high 40 points in Neshannock’s 75-67 won over Union to claim the tournament title.

“It was a big win for us and nice to come out on top,” Kirkwood said. “(Union) is going to be one of the better teams in our section.”

For his performance, Kirkwood is Lawrence County’s Athlete of the Week, as selected by The New Castle News sports staff. The award is sponsored by Washington Centre Physical Therapy.

“My shot was on,” Kirkwood said. “We worked out on shooting in the morning and I felt good. I came in and hit my first couple of shots and then was on after that.”

Kirkwood converted 16 of 22 from the line and earned tournament MVP honors.

“It was a special night for Tony,” Neshannock coach John Corey said. “Obviously, he was on fire,” Corey said. “The shots were falling. He was very successful getting to the free throw line.”

Kirkwood scored a total of 37 points last season after averaging 8.9 points a game during his sophomore year.
“It’s his senior year and he knows this is it,” Corey said. “He’s the type of competitor that it hurt him missing so many games.

“So I’m sure there’s a lot of excitement and motivation for him individually and for the team.”

With the exception of playing football this fall, Kirkwood spent much of the offseason preparing for basketball, working mainly on his shooting.

“He’s a great player who plays with a lot of energy and a lot of intensity,” Corey said. “He’s the kind of guy who you can count on at both ends of the floor.

“On the offensive end, he brings a lot of energy and is good with fundamentals, handling the basketball and obviously a very good shot. Defensively, he brings that same type of work ethic and gets after it.”

Kirkwood also possess the leadership skills Corey likes in a point guard.

““He’s our floor general and he makes things go,” Corey said. “As it was on Saturday, once he gets going, the other kids feed off him and they start to bring more energy as well.”

But there is one thing Corey wants from Kirkwood — to be more vocal.

“The big thing for him is communication,” Corey said. “These guys will listen to him, but he has to be a little better at getting louder and getting after guys on the floor.”
Player of the Week
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